if we never taste peach, and those who had have different idea of how it taste, how do we know the real taste of peach?
Practically, it’s impossible to have 100% understanding of the so called peach if we haven’t tasted it ourselves, even after all the best description possible. Communication can only explain so far, and can not beat experience. Of course in this case the best way to understand what peach is, is to eat one. This is a no-brainer. But in the case where there’s no peach around, we can only resort to their explanation, and our ability to see and understand things outside of our experience.
This leads us to the reality. Change the peach to anything you like, we encounter tons of situation where we can not comprehend other people perspective. That frustrating moments where we told other people to not put towel on bed — and yet they still do. Or when our coworkers keeps sending you email after office hour. Or when our significant other insists that money is the most important thing in relationship (and as a result, no money = no love). In the times like this, it’s really easy to roll our eyes before barraging them with reasons why you think it’s a ridiculous thing.
But is it really a ridiculous thing?
The thing about reality is, it depends on the beholder. Your reality might be different with other people reality. We might see the same thing, but the same thing looked from different angle produce an entirely different object (much like the object illusion). More often than not, our “common sense” might be different from other people “common sense”. My point is, others might not think like us, and see from a different angle. There’s a chance that they’re not ‘wrong’ when things are seen from their perspective.
This is where trust, empathy, and communication plays role in resolving much frustrating moments of different perspective.
Trust is a first foundation. Without trust, it’s impossible for us to listen. Let’s say you got a text from your colleague at 10PM, close to the time where you supposed to wind down and sleep.”Heyyy dude, it’s been awhile since we talked. How are you?” he said. He hasn’t reached you out in the last 10 years, but you know for sure that he’s into multi-level-marketing . At least that’s what you’ve been hearing from your other friends. You are suspicious that he want to pitch you his product, and ended up not responding to his text to avoid the awkwardness of being pitched by your own friend (but not because you’re about to wind down, because winding down and winding up is an important thing. But we’ll talk later of it). At this point, you are less likely to contact him back (if he didn’t follow you up), or if you do, you become defensive. Why? because you don’t trust he’s reaching you out purely for reconnecting your friendship, and just want to sell you that life-changing water filter.
But maybe, just maybe, he’s genuine. Maybe your friends are wrong, he did not work as a water filter salesman. He might be an engineer. Maybe he wants to ask you personal question. Equally maybe, he’s contacting you to sell the water filter. Who knows? This is the meaning of “the benefit of doubt”.
Which leads us into empathy. Let’s say for the worst that he indeed wants to pitch you his water filter. You got two options now: turn it down as soon as possible, or to listen first to him and try to understand deeper about what drives his pitch.
Option one: “sorry but I’m not interested.”
Option two: listen to him, and when he’s done, you tell him “sorry, but I’m not interested in your product. But I’m curious about you. How’s life buddy? How are things on your end?”
The first option guarantees a closure, while the second option have a chance to connect deeper and understand why on earth would he try to pitch you at night. Maybe he’s on borrowed time, or perhaps he’s drowned in workaholism, but also maybe because he’s a total prick 🙂. Communication plays part as well in empathy for sure (because how can we ask the right question and convey our mind without active communication?), but let’s talk about empathy and communication later on.
For now, we just have to think deeper first about reality and how it differs to everyone. My reality might be different than yours, and there’s no way to understand it other than trust, empathy, and communication.